In one of Pym’s most perceptive remarks, she quipped, “There are some things too dreadful to be revealed, and it is even more dreadful how, in spite of our better instincts, we long to know about them.” Perhaps next year I’ll spend more time reading and less time keeping watch over the latest buzz in world news. Wodehouse, particularly his “Jeeves” series. And I would add to the list IN SINU JESU Check it out. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Chernow never flags, and by the end this quietly brilliant, bull-headed, wrongly maligned, unexpectedly complex man emerges. It was the best book I read in 2018. Rachel is insane. Back in January, Jordan Teti in Los Angeles gave me a copy of Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Don’t miss it. Though the trail of the table isn’t fully revealed until the end of the book, two stories weave together thematically to show how humanity survives through its brokenness with the assistance of faith and love. I am interested in why people do what they do and how they explain and understand themselves and their own moment in history. I particularly enjoyed his point that things don’t lie: “Things, in their beautiful and imposing integrity, do not easily bend to lies. Legutko sees in modern liberal democracy a subtle, yet real, overlap with the Communism he experienced in Poland. The Outsiders by S.E. Garcia came from an abusive home, void of religion, though his mother was Presbyterian and took him and his siblings to church with her a couple of times. Nietzsche would approve. The book recounts Seton’s remarkable life as a wife, mother, young widow and Catholic convert, and, finally, foundress of the Sisters of Charity. Joshua Hedley’s Mr. Jukebox. His role is somewhat taken up by the first-person narration. The Perfection of Freedom: Schiller, Schelling and Hegel Between the Ancients and Moderns, by D.C. Schindler (James Clark & Co, Cambridge, 2017). This year, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (virtue!) The stories themselves—by turns funny, horrifying, grim, exciting, and baffling—demand to be read aloud. These were, after all, usually sung, collected from ordinary people by Elias Lönnrot on field trips in the 19th century. My favorite among them is the brilliantly told “All Hallows” about a semi-abandoned cathedral now being taken over by demons. 9. Letters of St Ignatius (they should have put these in an addendum in every Bible, so amazing are they and so close to the Apostle’s themselves) and finally 10. This book shows the deep spiritual side of Blessed John Duns Scotus and his constant devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God. The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn (Doubleday/Image, 1999). Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report. In the spirit of that brevity, Happy New Year and roger ‘n’ out. James T. O’Connor’s The Hidden Manna, another contemporary classic, reminded me of what also remains very right about Rome. Over a decade after its original publication, one is left wanting a sequel to the book summarizing Socci’s research. Assuming that others are also using this list for their Christmas Shopping, “Pushkin the Pontifical Puss: Tails of an Oratory Cat” is available, but for $900.00. Joseph Kremers is a political scientist who taught political ideologies, international relations, and Soviet/Russian studies in Oregon for 28 years. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. The current mania for an ambiguous notion of progress, Dawson suggests, has distracted humanity from the reality that religion is the soul of a culture, and any society that has lost its spiritual roots is dying. I expected this to be a good book, but it is, I think, an immediate classic, combining rigorous and illuminating scholarship with an amazing accessibility, all of which is a testament to the authors’ impressive talents and hard work. The more liberalism succeeds, Deneen argues, the more it fails. Basilica: The Splendor and Shame: The Building of St. Peter’s by R.A. Scotti. Finally, I read an advance copy of a wonderful book on Newman and Aquinas by the brilliant theologian Reinhard Hütter—look for it next year, I hope. Laura Dassow Walls’ Henry David Thoreau: A Life—a beautiful biography of one of my favorite American writers. Thank you. And we didn’t have “greasers.” Our high school world—at least as I experienced it—wasn’t so bifurcated. These facts are not unrelated, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Find the top 100 most popular items in Amazon Books Best Sellers. Fun to read these! Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, P.G. It was also the year I turned 50. We read the first part of the trilogy for our book club. His Grant lives. 1. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh. Vigo Auguste Demant: Not one World, but Two: A Miscellany of Preachments edited by Sławomir Nowosad, Foreword by Andrew Louth (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin [KUL], 2017). I also reread—only a few years after it first came out—Robert Cardinal Sarah’s God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith. Unfortunately, she has to prove her merit as a musician not only to Maestro Tomassini, but to her social-climbing father, who both underestimate her. Keeping with memoir-ish writing, I finally read Michael Herr’s Dispatches. Somewhat. Just as important is the Sheffs’ ability to shed real light and understanding on an epidemic now threatening to engulf America. I reread the book this year and it cemented its place as one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The book is proving a soothing balm during these most chaotic of times both within the Church and our culture at large. The philosophical stuff was, I am sorry to say, hardly worth the effort to read. I am sure I have done the first—“read without ceasing”—this year. Simply by his commitment to tell no lies, to give it to people raw, and thus his uncanny ability to bear witness to something real and existential “for which I can live and die,” as Kierkegaard would say. On a finer scale, Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (2018) reconstructs this tireless bureaucrat’s life and his role tilting Henry VIII’s church in an evangelical direction. Seeking to “foster unity and deeper understanding among Christians” is something typically paired with romanita’, the modern Catholic impulse to pull punches diplomatically and thereby to mute the superiority of our own patrimony. In the end we do not choose anything. In addition to Wolfe, my fiction included The End of the Battle, volume three of Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honor trilogy. All of these books insist on knowing Islam both from the book and from its historical record. The biography is Elizabeth Seton: American Saint by Catherine O’Donnell. Never was such beautiful English prose expended on such seemingly inconsequential stories. All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. Its focus is the intersection of Mariology and the theology of culture. (To use my sister’s defense to Mom’s critique of Easter Parade.) Earlier, I’d swooned in amazement after each chapter of Rovelli’s very slim volume, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (New York: Riverhead Books, 2016). Two books that go together very nicely are The Catholic All Year Compendium, by Kendra Tierney, and Around the Year with the von Trapp Family, by Maria von Trapp. The author focuses on the “ancient calling of bookselling and an interesting business for which increased training is needed if our present day is to be served adequately.” I did not know much of the bookselling education. Rocco Buttiglione, Risposte amichevoli ai critici di Amoris Laetitia (Milano: Edizioni Ares, 2017). You can find children’s Mass books and guides here and children’s missals here. Marmion is an excellent spiritual writer who truly knows Jesus. St. Francis of Assisi, G.K. Chesterton. Brian Jones the Coordinator of Liturgy at St. Anthony of Padua in the Woodlands, Texas. We all know that depression and anxiety seem to be ubiquitous these days. These attitudes and situations make him vulnerable to the whispered suggestions of the demon Deth-kye, whose purpose is to damn Jarret’s soul to Hell. Pulling all of this together is the fact (no spoiler—it’s clear from the beginning) that Big Angel is dying, in the final stages of bone cancer. She lost her husband and even loses custody of her surviving son. Next up is an interview-format book by Ivan Illich and David Cayley, Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich as Told by David Cayley (Anansi, 2005). A priest of Ravenna, Agnellus Andreas (d. c. 845) composed a topography of his beloved city, an amazing trek through the Roman Empire’s later capital and important Christian port town. This Autumn I re-read Cardinal Stefan Wyzsinski’s prison diaries, published under the title A Freedom Within. Legutko’s book provides a much-needed lens by which we can see such startling realities in their proper light. It’s more—having been pulled into criminals’ lives by pure accident, he’s trying to sort out whether there is any way he can stay hidden but also own up to his responsibility. Even so, it was fascinating to read what was, in effect, an Oklahoma high school girl’s interpretation of high school boys, especially those deemed “outsiders.” It was also a delight to read a story about strong male friendships without those relationships having to be homosexual. As a convert, I’m sorry to say I’ve always approached the last book of the Bible with some trepidation, scarred just a bit from non-Catholic writers who in my youth used the imagery of Revelations to construct imaginative, yet ultimately false, roadmaps to predict future events—complete with a legend to identify the primary actors (say, Gorbachev) and institutions (say, the Catholic Church) which would culminate in the Second Coming. I always try to re-read the conversation Seraphim of Sarov has with his disciple in the forest, Motovilov. Dreadful concerning alternate realities. Get great book recommendations! Columnist Joe Bobb Briggs, who winkingly managed to condense Michael McClymond’s massive two-volume History of Christian Universalism down to a 1,700 word dissent. My favorite “best of” reading list every year! His poetry is dense and exquisite, didactic and ecstatic—sometimes by turns and sometimes all at once—and I believe that in a better world, you all would know his name and have a few lines of his committed to memory. Trying to explain to someone why I like The Lord, I called it “the work of a brilliant mind reflecting on Christ from the standpoint of profound faith.” I recommend it highly as spiritual reading. My Utmost: A Devotional Memoir, by Macy Halford, an oddball pairing in which a writer for The New Yorker pays tribute to Oswald Chambers, Evangelicalism’s low-flying literary gadfly. Start Now. Rumer Godden, who can make a page-turner out of cloistered convent life (as she did in In This House of Brede), creates a thrilling cocktail in this book by mixing convent life, history, reformed female criminals, creepy enemies, gardening, and the Rosary. In 2018, Archbishop Oscar Romero, a courageous defender of El Salvador’s poor and victims of political violence, was canonized. Be sure to get … Two biographies I thoroughly enjoyed were Lightfoot, Nicholas Jennings’s life of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, and Jeffrey Lee’s God’s Wolf, a rollicking ride into the world of the famed crusader Reynald de Chatillon. But maybe don’t read it at night by yourself. For anyone concerned about how capitalism covertly colonizes the Christian mind, perverting our understandings of asceticism and Catholic social teaching alike, this book is enormously insightful. Roberto Morozzo della Rocca’s Oscar Romero: Prophet of Hope is an excellent corrective to the myth of “Ernesto ‘Che’ Romero” as well as an outstanding intellectual and spiritual biography of the martyr. The Flash, the CW Network’s multi-layered superhero TV series with a multi-racial family and a posse of villains sporting absurdly excellent names like Zoom, Savitar, The Thinker, and Gorilla Grodd (utterly convincing as a hyper-intelligent, telepathic ape). On the one hand, there is the rise of second-generation immigrants who are seeking to return home to their once totalitarian-occupied homelands. The book on which the film is based is significantly different. I have benefitted tremendously from these efforts in my own discovering of Mother Loyola this past year. 2 (Hildebrand Press, 2018), Peter Kreeft, The Platonic Tradition (St. Augustine’s Press, 2018), Christopher S. Morrissey, The Way of Logic (Nanjing Normal University Press, 2018), Josef Pieper, Don’t Worry about Socrates: Three Plays for Television (St. Augustine’s Press, 2018), Donald Robinson, Stoicism and the Art of Happiness: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2018), Roger Scruton, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (St. Martin’s Press, 2018), Roger Scruton, Music as an Art (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2018), Roger Scruton, Souls in the Twilight (Beaufort Books, 2018), John Sellars, Hellenistic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2018), Seneca translated by James S. Romm, How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life (Princeton University Press, 2018), Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Tim Duggan Books, 2018), Gregory Allan Thornbury, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Unless you have a cozy fire and a whiskey-bolstered cup of tea. My colleague Christopher J. Thompson provides his own ethically sourced meat in his meditative arguments for care of creation in The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes Toward a Green Thomism. It is also profoundly spiritual. The press exists, not to tell the truth, but to manipulate public opinion and government for the financial benefit of a few, and most of them are pretty lazy. Brad S. Gregory rejects trendy methodologies in Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (1999), an admirably even-handed survey of who martyred whom and why. Let me mention a few titles I literally have on my desk which I have read and now am quoting in my upcoming book on St. After the death of her infant daughter, she cannot hold herself together anymore. Another slightly unlikely read: the new Walsingham Pilgrimage Handbook. Gearing up for a course on the Role of Beauty in the Catholic life, I have been reading many works on aesthetics and this was one of the more intriguing, forging a connection between beauty and what is truly just in a society. I began my 2017 list with the Gospel of Luke, and so this year I’ll start with the book of Joshua, which I am currently teaching in a weekly Bible study at our parish. Tolkien as edited by Christopher Tolkien (2018). It is rather through the making of binding promises that our humanity realizes its capacity for greatness. May 2019 bring us all solace and the tenderness of “joyful sorrow” that evokes a sense of expectation, for Christ is born, and has conquered all sorrow. A charming take on the traditional “clown of God” folktale, which Cooney transforms into a Christmas story graced by her own delightful art. It recorded the conversations of the officers and crew on the ship’s bridge until the end. Not much for danger myself, I like to read about it. New Catholic Book Releases. They know no slogans, and they do not lie. Love and Responsibility also offers advice on how to build a successful relationship and marriage based on friendship and affection that can outlast the point when it seems that “love fades,” to quote one of my favorite movies, Annie Hall. Last year, I wrote that “James Matthew Wilson seems to write a brilliant book each year.” On cue, his collection of poems, The Hanging God, arrived a few weeks ago. The single best book I read this year was The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. This list starts off with Sacred Scripture and the Catechism--if you read nothing else on this list, make sure you read these. In the area of fiction, I delved into P.G. Things are hardly ever what they seem. Five for Sorrow Ten for Joy. Another book I read this year, Tracey Rowland’s Catholic Theology, complements Royal’s book nicely. , by D.C. Schindler (James Clark & Co, Cambridge, 2017). The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, by Anthony Korb (2015). Beside these two topics I have been interested in the canonization of Paul VI, Sino-Vatican relations, and the Moscow-Constantinople fight over the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Long after debates concerning footnotes and private letters have subsided and been forgotten, this book will still be remembered and treasured. Published as a special edition of Lux Vera. Two books in political philosophy to be read carefully are the Ignatius Press edition of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s Faith and Politics and Leo Strauss and His Catholic Critics. When Tolkien sparked the explosion of fantasy writing in the mid-20th century, American science fiction was already an established genre. Her prizewinning Jesus Approaches is aimed at women but equally powerful and helpful for men in understanding women (and also understanding themselves). There is a particularly interesting section juxtaposing the ideas of Joseph Ratzinger and Pedro Arrupe on inculturation and evangelization. Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy. 50 Books Every Catholic Should Read - Page 2 show list info. Discover the best Catholic Theology in Best Sellers. And it is best to read the book one day at a time. Brad Birzer’s Russell Kirk: An American Life brought home the glorious Catholic mind of an American original whose thought is experiencing a deserved rediscovery. The sum of Socci’s well-premised mini-conclusions will surprise even the most cynical—and the most skeptical—reader. Carlos Dominguez-Morano’s Belief After Freud: Religious Faith Through the Crucible of Psychoanalysis is a stunning book just published in English after going through five editions in Spanish. The totalitarian and technocratic tendencies of modern democracy have convinced more (certainly not all) second-generation immigrants that perhaps America is not as safe as they once believed. A wonderful book to read along with the Morse book is Leon Kass’ Leading a Worthy Life: Finding Meaning in Modern Times. I read three volumes of Donald Hall’s essays (Life Work, Essays After Eighty, A Carnival of Losses). ’s speech titled ‘The God Question Today’. Additionally, the difficulty of seeing human beings in predominantly quantitative and procedural terms provides a framework to look at a nation’s GDP as the most significant indicator of its health. London-based chef Olia Hercules’ Kaukasis: A Culinary Journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Beyond (San Francisco: Weldon Owen, 2017) is adventurous. 2) A Classic Spiritual Work – The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis. Of particular insight was Jennifer Roback Morse’s The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along. M.R. Another bright spot was my first full reading of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. Thanks! It survived only in underground literary circles and among some of the military ranks. It was with a sudden shock that I realized that Wyzinski’s situation might one day be that of a bishop in a Western country with a grimly hostile government. Besides the fact that Frank Sheed is the author, Karl Keating endorsed it, so you know it’s solid. Sackett, by Louis L’Amour. Shall I include a children’s book in this year’s list? Without the existential realization of needing other persons to form and ground our lives, American citizens risk falling into what Tocqueville called “soft despotism.” And when we read stories like the one described in this New York Times op-ed, we hopefully see that Tocqueville’s description and prescription for our time needs to be continually in the forefront of our minds. The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholicism by Taylor Marshall. Blessed John Henry Newman credited Scott for promoting enthusiasm for the Middle Ages during the Victorian era. The one unfortunate element is the Cardinal’s rejection of the Marian title “coredemptrix” as a false exaggeration. Jesus People San Fran. I used both books in my classes and have to say, the millennials enjoyed them. For the second–“pray without ceasing”–some special training and practice is needed, which means one cannot learn to pray without ceasing until one learns to pray for a few minutes at a time. With The Fourth Secret of Fatima—a book in which Socci initially set out counterfactually to disprove the “Fatimists” but upon research, wound up embracing their point of view—it is best to say what the book does not attempt to accomplish. O’Donnell’s biography—meticulously researched and years in the making (it exceeds 500 pages)—thankfully remedies that. Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life. Last year, it was Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence. The hilarious novel, The British Museum is Falling Down, by David Lodge. I can only say thank you for a stimulating browse through the explorations of many favorite minds. Father Looney offers a loving thirty-one day meditation on Mary with just a twist of contemporary flavor perfectly illustrating how our Faith can be both ‘ever-ancient’ and ‘ever-new.’. Buy the Ebook for $9.99. An Empire Divided by Stanford historian J.P. Daughton—a fine study of what might seem to be an obscure topic: how Catholic missionaries did their work in the context of France’s anti-Catholic Third Republic. Father Stefano Manelli, F.I. I did not expect to so thoroughly enjoy David Kynaston’s massive Austerity Britain, 1945-1951, but I did thanks to a compelling narrative as well as its very sobering insights into what my Glaswegian grandparents lived through. Still, I learned from it. We’re so familiar with this story, we can overlook Verne’s brilliant idea for having the most calculating, predictable man in the world instantaneously and willingly subject himself to the unpredictability of 19th century travel. And yet the book carries forth none of the National Enquirer-esque sense of kaffeeklatch borne by books with similar themes about Fatima. Witness by Whittaker Chambers. Christopher R. Altieri is co-founder and general manager of Vocaris Media and the author of The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood. May all words of truth draw us more deeply into the light the Incarnate Word, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Author Dennis Lambert links two different eras in an incredible journey through Church history to the present day. Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. Although its 500th anniversary has passed, I’m still reading Reformation history. by A.R.K. The Fourth Secret of Fatima makes repeated reference to an undisclosed second part of the third secret given to the seer Sr. Lucia dos Santos by the Virgin Mary in Portugal in 1917. Lol… anyway this is the first time I came upon this annual reading list and loved browsing through and seeing many of my old favorites listed…I picked out a few to challenge myself with in the coming year. It took me five years! Other books provided spiritual substance that helped explain our age. That one’s on my personal list of best books ever, despite a cumbersome title—a better one would be What Was Right (and Wrong) About the Reformation. Schindler is a great teacher whose project is to clear the fog of modern life and reconnect his reader with reality in its fullness. Nonfiction How Can You Still Be Catholic? If more priests made use of Wojtyła’s work and its personalistic explanation of the basis for Christian sexual ethics—that the person should above all be treated as a subject, not an object for gratification—in preparing couples for marriage, perhaps today’s divorce rate would be lower. This work offers reflections on evangelization and Christian survival in dark times with reference to themes in the works of Tolkien. Provides, please consider donating to support our efforts was the Buried Giant, Jacob. John Henry Newman credited Scott for promoting enthusiasm for the Middle of Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, ordinary. 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